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'Pen can't contain Giants after Lyles scratched

Renfroe smashes a solo homer; Padres' rally in 9th falls short
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jordan Lyles went through his pregame routine as usual in the AT&T Park bullpen on Saturday afternoon. When hitting coach Matt Stairs presented the lineup card at home plate, Lyles' name was penciled into the No. 9 spot.

And yet, after Hunter Renfroe grounded out to end the top of the first inning, it was left-hander Matt Strahm who emerged from the Padres' dugout and trotted toward the AT&T Park mound. Lyles was nowhere to be seen.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Jordan Lyles went through his pregame routine as usual in the AT&T Park bullpen on Saturday afternoon. When hitting coach Matt Stairs presented the lineup card at home plate, Lyles' name was penciled into the No. 9 spot.

And yet, after Hunter Renfroe grounded out to end the top of the first inning, it was left-hander Matt Strahm who emerged from the Padres' dugout and trotted toward the AT&T Park mound. Lyles was nowhere to be seen.

View Full Game Coverage

Turns out, Lyles had retreated to the trainers' room. Following his pregame bullpen session, pitching coach Darren Balsley noticed Lyles awkwardly stretching his right forearm. He inquired, and Lyles indicated something wasn't right. The Padres weren't about to take any chances with forearm tightness.

Instead, five San Diego relievers combined to put forth a valiant effort in a 5-3 loss to the Giants. Lyles, meanwhile, was evaluated during the game, and the Padres are hopeful his injury isn't severe.

Video: SD@SF: Castillo strikes out Panik to end the threat

"It wasn't worth the risk to put him on the mound today," said Padres manager Andy Green. "We chose to scratch him at the last possible minute. We're very hopeful it's one of those things that, by keeping him off the mound today, we preserved the rest of his season."

Lyles seemed hopeful that the injury wouldn't sideline him for long. The 27-year-old right-hander began the year in the bullpen before a mid-May move to the rotation. Despite his inconsistencies and his 4.46 ERA, he's shown flashes of excellence there.

"It's more of a scare than anything long-term," Lyles said. "When something flares up, you've got to be extra cautious. I've never had any problems. I had one today. Hopefully we got ahead of it early."

Meanwhile, the Padres -- who scrapped their scheduled bullpen day earlier this week when Joey Lucchesi returned from the disabled list -- got one anyway. This time, they were nowhere near as effective as when they had planned for it.

Strahm was sharp for three scoreless innings, and for the first time this year, Green asked him for a fourth. Andrew McCutchen walked to lead off the frame, and when Brandon Crawford tripled him home with one out, Strahm's day was done. He threw a season-high 59 pitches.

"You couldn't ask Matt Strahm to do anything more," Green said. "You're getting ambushed at the last possible second when, in your mind, you're preparing to pitch probably the sixth, seventh inning."

Technically, it was Strahm's fifth start of the year, though all five have come on days when the Padres have used their entire bullpen to eat nine innings.

"Like I've been saying the whole time, I like starting and the bullpen," Strahm said. "It was a little bit of both today."

No matter how many relievers the Padres tried, they couldn't find a way to retire Crawford. The Giants' shortstop struck again in the sixth with a go-ahead two-run double off Adam Cimber. The Giants tacked on insurance runs in the seventh and eighth, and Crawford finished 3-for-3 with a walk.

Meanwhile, the San Diego bats offered little in response. Renfroe put the Padres on top with a solo homer in the fourth. But that was the only offense they would muster until the final frame.

Video: SD@SF: Renfroe lifts a solo home run to left field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Warning-track power: With the game tied at 1 in the sixth, Hunter Renfroe and Christian Villanueva -- the Padres' noted lefty-killers -- notched two-out singles to chase starter Andrew Suarez. The Giants called on right-hander Reyes Moronta to face Jose Pirela, who lifted a deep drive to center field. Gorkys Hernandez ran it down just shy of the track, and San Francisco took the lead for good half an inning later.

Too little, too late: The Padres trailed by four runs entering the ninth, but they wouldn't go down easily. Travis Jankowski and Manuel Margot notched consecutive one-out hits. They would both score when Crawford threw errantly to first base on A.J. Ellis' slow chopper. That brought Cory Spangenberg to the plate as the tying run, but he would bounce harmlessly to first base on the first pitch.

Video: SD@SF: Padres score twice on broken bat, error

HIGH AND TIGHT
With two outs in the seventh inning, Phil Maton came up and in on McCutchen with a 1-1 fastball. A pitch later, Maton came a bit farther inside, this time plunking McCutchen squarely on his left shoulder.

The Giants' right fielder was none too pleased. He stalked out of the batter's box and stared at Maton while raising his arms in disbelief. Padres catcher A.J. Ellis sprang out of his crouch to intervene, and ultimately, McCutchen took first base without incident.

"Everybody's entitled to having an off-day," McCutchen said. "He's having a good year. He has pretty good numbers. They say that everybody has an off-day, I guess, and I just happened to be the guy he had an off-day against."

Video: SD@SF: McCutchen gets plunked in the 7th

Indeed, Maton's numbers are good. He owns a 1.53 ERA in 17 appearances. But he spent a month on the disabled list before being activated on Thursday, and he hasn't looked sharp since his return.

"Obviously I had no reason to throw at him," Maton said. "I've been on rehab for a month. Executing that up-and-in fastball to a good hitter, I missed my spot. I don't know what else to say about it. He can react how he wants. I wouldn't be happy if I got hit either. But I'm not going to say I'm at my sharpest right now."

HE SAID IT
"No pop, no tear, no pain, just discomfort -- not even discomfort. Just my brain telling me there's something there I'd never felt." -- Lyles, on the nature of his injury

UP NEXT
Eric Lauer has become more comfortable with his mechanics, and that's led to an uptick in his fastball velocity lately. He's made a tweak to his slider, and that's led to a nastier bite. The results are showing, and the rookie left-hander is amid the best stretch of his young career. On Sunday, Lauer faces right-hander Dereck Rodriguez and the Giants in the series finale with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. PT.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Jordan Lyles, Matt Strahm